When NBC suddenly removed Community from its comedy schedule mid-season (back in November 2011), the move set-off a firestorm of fan angst - despite the network maintaining that the show would return at some point. In March, following countless fan renewal petitions as well as the now familiar "Six Seasons and a Movie" meme, Community returned to finish off its third season and, even though few of the fan efforts resulted in a significant jump to the show's actual Nielsen ratings, NBC elected to renew the series for a truncated thirteen episode fourth season. Of course the good news didn't last long - as fan-favorite showrunner, and series creator, Dan Harmon was unexpectedly fired from the series, causing many fans to wonder what other changes might be on the horizon.
In spite of all the ups and downs, we can now confirm one especially good piece of news that Community faithfuls have been waiting to hear - the entire cast will be back for season four.
Given the animosity between Harmon and Chevy Chase, many viewers had been anticipating the death of senior study group member Pierce Hawthorne - especially when star Joel McHale announced that a regular character would die toward the end of season three. While a Greendale Community College death did occur, we're not going to spoil who (since some readers are just now getting into the show), it's safe to say the seven core characters were left alive and well - Pierce included.
However, speculation persisted that (even after Harmon's exit) Chase might still leave the series - speculation that we can, for the time being, put to rest.
Ironically, despite a lengthy career in comedy, it's somewhat shortsighted to center all casting concerns around Chase, given that the actor isn't currently attached to a single announced upcoming project and nearly every other principle Community member has a star on the rise - especially McHale (Jeff Winger), who can be seen at the box office this weekend in Ted, and Alison Brie (Annie Edison), who delivered a great performance in The Five Year Engagement, continues to showoff her drama chops on Mad Men, and is set for two more feature films (Adventures of the Dunderheads and Get a Job).
Similarly, Gillian Jacobs (Britta Perry) is still pulling in box office money for the recent Steve Carell/Keira Knightley dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Donald Glover's (Troy Barnes) hip hop album, Camp - under the stage name Childish Gambino - hit number 11 on the Billboard top 200 (and number 2 on both the U.S. R&B and Rap charts) and the comedian will make an appearance in the Andy Samberg starring 2013 film The To Do List. Glover's on-set partner in crime, Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir) can be seen later this year in The Guilt Trip (starring Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen) as well as Joe Lynch's Knights of Badassdom - about a group of roleplaying geeks who inadvertently summon an actual demon. Lastly, Yvette Nicole Brown (Shirley Bennett) is set to appear in the next Percy Jackson installment, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters as Fate.
Not to mention Jim Rash (Dean Pelton), who won a 2012 Academy Award for Best Screenplay (along with Nat Faxon & Alexander Payne) for The Descendants.
While season five (not to mention "Six Seasons and a Movie") is up in the air, for at least one more season, Community fans can enjoy seeing all of their favorite characters (and performers) huddled around the study group table - assuming there aren't any more mid-season shenanigans, character deaths, or unexpected firings that would require a damage control talking sheet.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Community as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.
Community season 4 premieres October 19th on NBC.
Source: The Wrap